By Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico
National organizations like the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local resources like Finance New Mexico are setting the table for small New Mexico businesses that hunger for information and assistance. And what they offer is a fiesta of staples and specials to whet any entrepreneurial appetite.
The SBA, through its website and in-person consultations, serves broad, “macro” needs of business owners with self-paced courses, articles, guides, and videos on multiple topics, many organized according to a business’s age or evolutionary stage.
When resource needs turn local, the Finance New Mexico project directs business creators to the information and organizations most appropriate for their situation.
The SBA website is the place to start for the entrepreneur who has an idea that might be a moneymaker. And that might lead to a face-to-face meeting with an SBA expert who can offer more personalized assistance.
The website (www.sba.gov) posts startup guides on a variety of subjects. The page on advertising and marketing law, for example, addresses product labeling, environmental claims and a lot more. The page devoted to hiring and retaining workers covers required employee benefits, writing effective job descriptions and essential contents for employee handbooks.
Other guides get into the details of running a business, and one features a Small Business Sustainability Toolkit for the eco-minded capitalist. Energy efficiency and cybersecurity are 21st-century business concerns, and the SBA has advice about both.
A popular webpage concerns government contracting. It leads visitors through the process of qualifying for small and disadvantaged business status through the 8(a) Small Business Development Program, and women-owned businesses can also learn how to compete in this lucrative business sector.
Entrepreneurs can take one 30-minute course on how to prepare a loan package or another on how to protect intellectual property with patents, trademarks and copyrights. Or they can use the agency’s online SizeUp tool that helps businesses see how they measure up against their competitors and how to map customers and suppliers and locate the best places to advertise.
A Finer Focus
Once they’ve acquired some general information, aspiring business owners can proceed to the specifics at the Finance New Mexico website.
Finance New Mexico provides business-building tools and connections intended to stimulate economic development and growth in the state. Launched in 2007, it’s a one-stop resource center for people who want to start or expand a business and need local financing, mentoring, training or education. It links businesses to general assistance as well as specialized services tailored to a specific industry or interest.
With its wide network of public- and private-sector partners, the project draws on and shares the expertise of New Mexico professionals who serve the business community in many capacities, including as lenders, attorneys, manufacturing consultants and regional economic development advocates. These individuals and organizations contribute to informational and inspirational articles posted on the site each week and distributed statewide to municipalities and community newspapers for local consumption.
The Finance New Mexico online reference library features a glossary of business terms, a business plan guide and a loan payment calculator. Its sister website (GrowItNM.org) organizes the information by municipality. And the Biz Calendar (bizcalendar.org) is a comprehensive, regularly updated list of workshops and events.